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Hiroyasu Kobayashi
Min-On President Hiroyasu Kobayashi

“Min-On aims to deepen mutual understanding and friendship among all countries by promoting music and cultural exchanges that transcend differences of nationality, race and language.” This is one of the founding principles of the Min-On Concert Association. Through the untiring efforts of tens of thousands of our sustaining members in Japan, who have shared those founding principles and promoted our cultural activities, as well as the tremendous support given by a great number of individuals from around the world, Min-On this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. On behalf of the Min- On Founder, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely express our deepest appreciation to all of those people for their long-standing contributions to the advancement of our Concert Association for the last 50 years.

The Soka Ensemble perform selected masterpieces from around the world
The Soka Ensemble perform selected masterpieces from around the world

On October 18, 1963, the concert celebrating the founding of the Min-On Concert Association was held at Bukyo Civic Auditorium in Tokyo, featuring a choir, a musical ensemble and performances by a leading violinist and cellist, as well as an introduction to the founding principles. Since then, over the course of the fifty-year history of Min- On, we have been able to expand our cultural ties worldwide, forging friendly relations by inviting the finest musicians and artists representing the culture of each country, as well as dispatching a number of artists who represent our proud culture of Japanese traditional music and performing arts to a total of nineteen nations around the world. We are so fortunate and very proud to be able to continue promoting cultural exchange activities on a global scale. To date, cultural exchanges have been organized with 105 countries and territories; more than 75,000 concerts and performances have been realized with a combined total audience of more than 113 million.

Hidemaro Konoye
Guest conductor Hidemaro Konoye

By experiencing these cultural events, we have witnessed and learned about the great value of cultural exchange and the magnificent power of music and art in concrete terms. Artists from distant countries express their spirit through exquisite performances to people in Japan, and audiences respond with their enthusiastic applause and cheers. I myself attend some of these events and witness the wonderful heart-to-heart communication between artists and audience. Even though it happens in the limited time of a concert lasting some two hours, a performance of music and art allows them to communicate and respond to each other’s inner-most feelings, a process that can translate into mutually friendly feelings for the rest of their lives.

Min-On Founder Dr. Daisaku Ikeda says, “Music speaks directly to the heart. The response, this echo within the heart, is proof that human hearts can transcend the barriers of time and space and nationality. Exchange in the field of culture can play an important role in enabling people to overcome mistrust and prejudice and build peace.”

On this occasion of our 50th anniversary, we have set ourselves the objective of dispatching more Japanese artists abroad to promote mutual exchange with more countries and further strengthen our determination to build a spiritual Silk Road extending all over the globe, binding together the hearts of people in the pursuit of lasting peace. I wish to express my sincere thanks for your continued support and courteous cooperation in the future activities of the Min-On Concert Association.